Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ugasanie - White Silence

Cryo Chamber: 2013

We've had too much sunshine on the West Coast this summer. Even the nearby Sunshine Coast is looking up at fat ol' Sol and asking, “Dude, let up a little?” And no, blotting out the sun with a thick haze of forest-fire smoke doesn't count. If anything, it makes it worse, scattering the sunlight such that it heats the surrounding air even more, creating intense humidity even us city slickers find suffocating. Why can't it be like the clogged atmosphere of a deep, cold winter, sun rays reflecting back out to space from whence it came? If I can't experience a winter in the summer, I can at least vicariously live one through another album from Mr. Malyshkin, and all his bitter, frozen ambient textures.

This is the first of (currently) four albums Ugasanie released on Cryo Chamber. Yep, took me this long to finally get to where it all began with this partnership, but an important one nonetheless. For most of its initial years, Simon Heath's print promoted the standard dark ambient styles most associate with the genre: post-apocalyptic mood music, industrial bleakness, psychosis soundtracks, with a dash of the ethereal occult for flavour. White Silence added an additional layer to their grayland tapestry, that of remote isolationism within bleak, frigid settings. It's an aesthetic that others had explored in years past, but it was Cryo Chamber's first foray into such frontier, establishing a fearless streak that no dark ambient domain was off limits, no matter how fringe.

Of course, you're wondering if Yet Another Ugasanie Album is worth your time, especially if the previous ones I've covered are entirely too niche in topic for those only just dipping your ankles in dark ambient's onyx waters. Studies in northern madness, aurora borealis meditation, and weirdness in Tunguska are find and dandy, but sometimes folks just wanna' wander the tundra wastes on a sight-seeing tour. Spoiler: there's a whole lotta' nothing out there, maybe a stray bird call or wolf howl piercing the emptiness.

Still, as White Silence was an introductory of sorts for Ugasanie with the Cryo Chamber posse, it's only fitting that the music within is rather broad in scope too. Track titles like Permafrost, In The Northern Lights, Under The Cover Of The Polar Night, and Tundra Fogs usually help set the tone of most other albums from Mr. Malyshkin, but here they're simply another piece of the polar picture he's painting for us. Even the opening track, The Island Of Terrible Death, doesn't lead us to a specific event, merely taking us to the titular shore for a look-see before moving on. Ooh, creepy and ominous.

Another thing that separates White Silence from other Ugasanie albums is his use of melodic timbre. Yeah, it's still that minor-key dark ambient synth pad, but it's more than the typical atonal drone he does in most of his works. That just might make this album his most accessible, if anything in this scene can be deemed as such.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The KLF - The White Room

Arista: 1991

The White Room is a great album from a great band. Just kidding, The KLF were rather mediocre for most of their career. Their first release as The JAMMs sounded like a shit Scottish Beastie Boys. Really, they only had two things going for them: sticking it to the highfalutin record business, and knowing how to game the system to sell some fun pop tunes. Okay, they also may have been responsible for inventing a bunch of genres too, but anyone can do that. They simply made theirs super-popular with raving punters, inspiring legions of imitators and jock-riders.

Ha ha, kidding again; just busting some KLF Loving Fanboyz balls. Of course The White Room is a Very Important Album from a Very Important Band. It's the culmination of endless struggle from Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond, a crowning achievement in pop chart success, proving their novelty hit Doctorin' The Tardis as The Timelords wasn't some fluke. Hell, they literally wrote the book on how to achieve such success, and then done did it again, proving The System is so very easily subverted if you make enough tea in the end. Tea is important, after all, in supplying you caffeinated confidence that your work is not for ought. I assume they drank generic black tea or Earl Grey or maybe even English Breakfast in the late evening. Personally, Green Tea does the trick for me, but that's due to my proximity with various Far East eateries: Japanese sushi bars, Chinese restaurants, Korean BBQ houses, and all the pho a fool can force down his pho-hole in an afternoon.

But The White Room as we got isn't what The KLF had in mind, initially intended to soundtrack an epic road trip movie. When early recordings and test footage proved unfavourable, however, those plans were scrapped, and the various sessions dumped onto the B-side of a regular record release. The A-side then cobbled together their recent singles (What Time Is Love?, 3am Eternal, Last Train To Trancentral) with a couple additional cuts from the initial White Room sessions, added a bunch of crowd noises, and created a mock mini-concert as the result (and thus 'Stadium House' was birthed).

Only Teenage Sykonee didn't get that either, American copies of The White Room further gutting the album due to copyright claims on said crowd samples. Apparently some of it came from a U2 album (!!), and that's a big no-no in the sampling department. On the other hand, my version of The White Room has the kick-ass Live From The Lost Continent version of Last Train To Trancentral, a tune in my youthful naivety eagerly showed to my father in hopes of proving to him that 'techno iz kewl!' “Sounds like disco,” he remarked with a smirk.

Oooh, that just wouldn't stand! 'Techno' is cowabunga-awesome, and disco is square-lame. I thus travelled in search of the mythical White Room on The Lost Continent to prove so. Let me tell you the tale of my exploits.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Zomby - Where Were U In '92 (Original TC Review)

Werk Discs: 2008

(2017 Update:
Screw '92. Where were
you in 2008, when this came out, eh? Or maybe 2001, the same sixteen year gap as Zomby had between album and era-homage. Yeah, there's a sobering thought, I reckon. Does that mean we're due for some nostalgic throwbacks to vintage electroclash? Like, I can't think of much else from that year you could claim as 'cutting edge' and distinctly of that time, but with almost no follow-up in its wake as it splintered into competing scenes. Genres generally get comfortable and cozy these days, laying fat as time wears on. Or completely fizzling out as trend-jumping 'flash-in-pans'. I'm looking at you, whatever that 'minimal-prog' thing Border Community did.

Zomby's maintained a decent career for himself nearly a decade on, still releasing the occasional album that's just as intriguing as it is frustrating to play as this one. Seriously, does this guy have major ADHD, what with all the short snippets of tracks his LPs are littered with? Crazy that he ended up on 4AD for a time, though recently found his way back to his more natural setting of Hyperdub. Oh, and I think he's somehow remained incognito. Lord Discogs doesn't even list a proper name, much less any photos without some cover. That's serious dedication to the act, but hey, if the mighty UR could do it, so can Zomby.)



IN BRIEF: Too much old, not enough school.

We’ve certainly never hid our fondness for classic rave sounds of the early 90s here at TranceCritic. I’m sure it’s gotten to the point where readers figure we’ll give anything a glowing remark so long as it has a rolling piano, wailing diva sample, giddy breakbeat, or big-synth riff. Let’s be honest though (as if we ever aren’t): it isn’t enough to just make use of these bits and pieces – there needs to be a degree of intuitive musicianship involved too. It might have been a unique twist on the style, or a perfectly executed production, or perhaps a ‘special-something’ that captured the free-wheeling spirit of that time; whatever it was, the old-school classics have endured for these reasons, leaving plenty of forgettable tunes to the dustbin of history. And truth be told, there was quite a bit deservedly left behind.

While singles were awesome, many of the albums from that era were forgettable. Seriously, beyond the big ones, can you remember many old school albums? And even then, can you remember how every track went? The trouble was not many producers seemed capable of making full-lengths; for every Experience, you’d get about ten Movements. Albums generally consisted of an intro track, your big singles, a couple variations on that single, the ‘leftfield’ contribution, an ‘other-genre’ filler track or two, and remixes of the big singles – in that order. There was a lot of repetitiveness in old school albums, and in making a deliberate throw-back to the year 1992, Zomby has either accidentally or intentionally fallen into this trap.

First, of course, is who even this Zomby guy is. Well, good luck finding that one out. He remains anonymous, a characteristic worth its weight in gold where London’s dubstep scene is concerned. Still, some have him pegged as the next Burial, a dubious distinction I’m sure he’d prefer not to have given his utter disregard for following convention. This here debut album is a prime example: instead of building upon his promising early dubsteb and chip-tune singles, as many were expecting, he goes and makes a rave album.

Fair enough, plenty of producers are doing this lately, sometimes with brilliant results. If you’re going this route, though, there needs to be a good spin on the formula, otherwise we may as well just replay the classics.

It starts promisingly enough (oh, but how often albums “starts promisingly,” eh?), with Fuck Mixing, Let’s Dance hitting all the right nostalgia nerves, including sped-up vocals, quick punchy riffs, and bouncy beats. It’s an intro track though, setting the tone of the album before we’re lead into what would be the ‘big single’, Euphoria. Sounding like some long lost proto-jungle track even Grooverider inexplicably missed, it’s got a great shuffling breakbeat, many little tidbits culled from hardcore of yore (klaxon wails, vocal samples, catchy riffs), and a dubstep wobble bassline bringing it in the here-and-now. If none of this sounds appealing to you, however, then you’d better forget this album, as Zomby basically uses the elements from Euphoria and continuously recycles them throughout. And this is where the problems start.

For instance, do you love klaxon wails? I mean, really love ‘em? No, I mean really fucking love ‘em? Because you’re gonna hear ‘em… a lot. Also, did you love that shuffling breakbeat in Euphoria? No, I mean really… you get the point. Nearly every track on Where Were U sounds like a remix of Euphoria, just with a different ‘old school’ idea thrown on top of it. Tears In The Rain sludges things up with a wobble bass that drones more than wobbles, and makes use of the ‘rip speech from sci-fi movie’ cliché (the title alone should tell you which speech it is). Get Sorted through Float is pretty much one idea spread out, taking the klaxons and shuffle beats and mixing it up with Bizarre Inc.’s classic Playing With Knives. And the titular track is basically a megamix of all the album’s bits and pieces, flowing into a kind of mish-mash of it all with Baby D’s Let Me Be Your Fantasy and Street Fighter II samples (“Sonic boom!”). That’s a fair amount of Where Were U’s playing time taken up by rehashing a couple ideas and spreading it out, which, as mentioned, is par for the course where many old school albums were concerned.

Since Zomby doesn’t stray from the formula much, it’s always a welcome relief when he actually does, even if the results aren’t always memorable. Daft Punk Rave is little more than an interlude making use of the French duo’s Technologic dialogue over a beat; Need Ur Lovin’, Hench, and B With Me are the kind of ‘other-genre’ filler tracks you might find mired in a ‘92 compilation dedicated to those sounds (deep house, hardcore, and breakbeat, respectively) – I have to mention, however, that the klaxons sound pretty good in Need Ur Lovin’, as Zomby decides to funk them up a little.

As for the ‘leftfield’ track, Zomby has taken modern-day crunk man Gucci Mane’s Pillz, thrown in a bunch of chip-tune bleeps, and sped the pace up to proper amphetamine levels. It’s quite nutty, but in being so radically different from everything else on Where Were U, the track definitely leaps out. All the while, though, it sounds like something that could have been produced back in ’92, probably during one of Richard D. James’ ‘inspired’ moments.

Ultimately, Zomby’s debut comes off like a good ’92 pirate radio session someone recorded to tape - even the general sound quality has a kind of ‘aged’ feeling to it. This would have made for a nifty release then, had it been heard back in ’92. At this point, however, Where Were U is more like a quirky artifact that you may throw on occasionally, but has little that differentiates itself from the source material it draws influence from. His unfortunate insistence on recycling so many of the same sounds, riffs, and drum patterns throughout (old and new) severely dulls the listening experience. Of course, the counter here is that a throwback such as this isn’t meant to be critiqued by modern standards, that it’s a celebration of the good ol’ days if raving. Fine and dandy, but if that means hearing a bunch of sounds that can be found on any old school compilation, we may as well stick with the classics. In pilfering so much from the past, it certainly seems Zomby has.

Written by Sykonee for TranceCritic.com, 2009. © All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Dusted - When We Were Young

Nettwerk: 2000/2001

It's criminal the amount of folks who overlook this album. No, I've empirical evidence backing this up, barely four-hundred copies owned by denizens of Discogs. By comparison, over twenty-seven hundred Discogians have some version of Outrospective from Faithless, Rollo's main super-famous popular project. But I get it: despite the glowing critical praise Dusted earned with this debut, few knew what to make of it. It didn't help ol' Roland isn't much of an attention hound, always hiding in the producer's cubby while others reap the glory from his efforts (Sister Bliss, Maxi Jazz, Dido), to say nothing of Mark Bates' contributions here. There was little media promoting it too, just a Deep Dish remix and a rather crap CGI video supporting the lead single Always Remember To Respect Your Mother. And while the artwork is an obvious homage to Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are, it's not the sort of style your average punter is gonna' find themselves drawn too. Nay, wait until they're at mid-life, and reflections on childhood innocence while tending to a child yourself becomes far more poignant.

That, in a nutshell, is likely why When We Were Young failed to gain 'classic album status' despite all the musical muscle supporting such an honour: its audience was just too niche. Still, folks weaned on copious amounts of Faithless should vibe on the opening few tracks. Childhood sets the stage in a dreamy morning-after bliss as many of Rollo's best chilled-out instrumental pieces so often do, while follow-up Time Takes Time goes for more of a soul-fusion slant. Want U and Hurt U tread into trip-hop territory, with a growing sense of youthful uncertainty and anxiety coming to grips with experiencing such emotions for the first time. Capping this stretch off with the creepy If You Go Down To The Woods, as though you're lost and alone in an unknown world, and you're more than ready to accept the loving, tender embrace of Always Remember To Respect Your Mother, Pt. 1, Dido's operatic vocals carrying you to places safe and warm again.

And that's just the first half of this brilliant album!

From there, When We Were Young grows more mature sounding, soulful croons from Luke Garwood mostly leading the way. There's further dalliances into trip-hop (Always Remember To Respect Your Mother, Pt. 2, Winter), cheeky weirdness for a 'lawf' (The Oscar Song), gospel exuberance (The Biggest Fool In The World, Under The Sun), and folksy reflection (Oh, How Sweet, If I Had A Child). And yeah, these are just broad genre descriptors, as Rollo and Bates never settle into any one tidy style, fusing everything into a sound that's unmistakably theirs. I mean, you've heard it before, during the downtime in most Faithless records.

When We Were Young is essentially the mellow-chill creativity of Rollo unleashed – no need of adhering to club anthems or Maxi Jazz lyrics here, my friends. If that isn't enough of a selling point of this album, I don't know is.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Chronos - When Mars Meets Venus (Part 2: Venus)

Altar Records: 2012

No, I can't let this go, not when it still bugs me. I know for centuries Venus was thought of as a jewel in the morning and evening skies, a bright beacon of light outshining all other stars in a vast sea of black. It's only natural that the Ancients would associate beauty and grace as it wandered across the Zodiac. However, science has taught us that while Venus may look lovely from afar, it's anything but pretty and tranquil. Temperatures that can melt lead, thick sulphuric acid clouds blotting out sunlight, yet an atmosphere of vast amounts of carbon dioxide holding in heat for a runaway global greenhouse. Vast volcanic plains. Crushing pressures. And what's up with that rotation, slowly spinning backwards relative to the other planets in our system? That just ain't right at all! If musicians were honest in their odes to Venus, they wouldn't make music of beauty and grace, but of Hellfire and glitchy, noisy mess.

Anyhow.

The whole Mars/Venus dichotomy is essentially a celestial version of yin and yang, an easy concept for artists to showcase two sides of their muse. That Chronos needed to explore it across two separate albums suggests a bit of the ol' hubris at work, but hashing out just another album for Altar Records probably didn't seem all that appealing. Mr. Klimenko was already a five year vet in the psy scene by the time these came out, with plenty of music already released to his name. If DJ Zen is giving you carte blanche to let your creativity do the rockwilda', then have at you.

As When Mars Meets Venus: Part 2 is the 'Venus' album, it's mostly a chill, ambient one compared to Part 1: Mars. You sure wouldn't know it from the opening track though, Leaving Gaia featuring full orchestral arrangements, thundering percussion, and operatic choirs. Did we stumble into a fantasy epic somehow? Ooh, space opera, mayhaps!

But nay, we're in full-on ambient territory for much of this album's duration, tracks lasting an average of eight to eleven minutes apiece. It's mostly of a lush, soaring sort, thick timbres of pad work and spacey samples thrown in for added flavor. Red Planet goes a little more menacing (because Mars iz warz), Venus Eyes does a mysterious build before settling on a bit of quaint, affable melody (getting a Solar Fields vibe here), while Soaring In The Abyss and Galactic Winter add some Berlin-School pulsing synth rhythms to the fray. Dark Flame Landing is clearly the centrepiece of this album though, with the longest track duration and a return of the thundering percussion for its back-half. All that's missing is the appropriate film epic accompanying it.

Still, Part 2: Venus may be too ambient overall for most casual followers of psy-chill. Though Chronos does maintain a strong sense of grandeur throughout, it's also a rather singular journey, and folks needing 'd'em riddims' may not be up for the ride. Those who are though, hoo!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Chronos - When Mars Meets Venus (Part 1: Mars)

Altar Records: 2012

It's been two years since I dived into Altar Records' discography with abandon, reviewing their compilations and albums from acts like AstroPilot and... Um, okay, it was mostly all AstroPilot, with a smattering of one-shots from other acts. Chronos in particular though, I name-dropped often, someone who's chance to properly shine on this blog was coming. Um, I'm a little behind schedule on that part. His Helios album was a nice tide-over, but more of a dessert to the main course Chronos contributed to Altar's catalogue, a two album concept release titled When Mars Meets Venus.

Not that other artists on Altar didn't release LPs in rapid succession either. The relatively unknown psy-trance project Monkey Machine put out a pair the year prior, and another early Altar work-horse, C.J. Catalizer, had a steady clip of records too (to say nothing of AstroPilot, but y'all must be getting weary of that constant name-drop). None of them explored a specific theme across two records though, with each part reflecting a different aspect of their muse. When Mars Meets Venus not only cemented Chronos' place in psy-chill's pantheon of skillful musicians, but also helped establish Altar as more than 'just another psy label', showing a willingness in letting artists indulge themselves if they had the songcraft backing it up. The label's had some difficulty reaching that creative high ever since, sans He I Promised Not To Mention Again.

Part 1 focuses on the Mars perspective, which generally translates to an uptempo, 'aggressive' side of things. My inner astronomer can't help but balk at this (Mars is by far the more placid planet when compared to Venus' Hell-fire), but I'm confronting centuries of accepted, artistic lore. Thus we get your steady-pace prog-psy numbers like Leaving Gaia and... uh, actually, there's not much standard four-to-the-floor beatcraft found here. For sure the BPM is of a medium pace throughout, but Mr. Klimenko seems adamant in eschewing convention in favour of whatever broken-beat he can throw in. Arkturus (red bodies unite!) goes for a minimalist ambient techno thing, I think Hi Tech Mosaic is in another time signature than 4/4 (I'm no expert), Sequenced Engine alternates between chunky thumps and bleepy shuffling, and Zirda defiantly messes up the standard prog-psy pace. And wait, is that a touch of the 'wub-wub' I hear in Broken Song? Chronos, how dare you!

Detailing all the fine beatcraft on here would take forever, and that's not even getting into all the lovely melodies and ear-wormy passages too. Shining Parallel World comes rather close to aping classic Orbital, Lullaby For The Little Robot is all sorts of quaint and twee, and Pain Feedback sure wants to get its prog rock on. There's so much going on with Part 1, it feels like the album never ends, lasting much longer than its recorded time-stamp. It's an album that needs repeated listens to digest it all, but with a feast this grand, you can't help but return to the buffet for more.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Josh Wink - When A Banana Was Just A Banana (Original TC Review)

Nervous Records: 2009

(2017 Update:
Josh Wink still hasn't made another album since this one. Why hasn't Josh Wink made another album since this one? Did it sell poorly due to the odd, cartoony presentation? Does he still feel squirmish about making 'album orientated music', even at this late stage of his career? Is he simply satisfied kicking out a steady stream of yearly singles, his DJing carrying the muse's load? So many questions, ones that honestly don't require an answer, but it remains a strange state of affairs that for a career as long lasting as his, Mr. Wink has never needed regular LPs maintaining it.

As this review was written late in TranceCritic's run, it's definitely of much better quality than most. Even at a rather lengthier word count, it still pops along at a nice clip. I even worked in an obligatory aside-rant about 'anti-builds' (on non-climaxes), plus threw in a couple snarky quips I'd totally forgotten about. Gave me a good chortle, they done did.)



IN BRIEF: Bountiful bananas.

First: there is no Higher State on here. In fact, there probably never will be a track like that ever again, from Wink or anyone else. It was an once-in-a-lifetime moment when that seminal acid classic was dropped, so you may as well stop expecting Wink to repeat it. If that’s the only reason you’ve clicked this review - to find out if he’s made another Higher State - hit ‘Alt + Left-Arrow’ now.

Good. Those who’ve stayed put probably already know there’s more to Mr. Winkleman than one or two big hits from the 90s but it’s remarkable just how much a man can forever be tied to chart success, even nigh fifteen years on. Ol’ Josh hasn’t let it tie his career down though. His record label Ovum continues to chug along with quality releases, his DJing career continues to groove along with quality sets, and his productions continue to, um, be produced. Well, he manages to continue to release solid singles, but has never managed to quite break that LP barrier, with albums that never seem to quite capture the same thrill or success of his EPs or DJ mixes. Wink himself has admitted that perhaps the fault lies in his attempts to make AOM (album orientated music), something that doesn’t play to his strengths.

So, it’s just as well that he’s abandoned that aspect for his latest album. The concept of When A Banana… is straight-forward enough: round up a collection of current productions that’s been getting live rotation, arrange them into a kind of DJ mix, and send it out into the wild. Surprisingly (or not), it works brilliantly, with each of these tracks strutting their stuff in strong fashion.

It’s the first half of this album that shines most brightly, with a variety of groovy house vibes, techno bedlam, and tranced-out bliss. Opener Airplane Électronique warms you up as fine as any house tune, with a funky rhythm that’ll have you wiggling along and a bouncy hook that gets a bunch of fun tugs, tweaks and tumbles twisting it about. However, it’s with Counter Clock 319 that you realize just how special of a producer Wink still is. Like so many of his tracks, he works a slow build before introducing The Hook (it seems many of his tracks contain that one element which can only be described as The Hook), which will get a thorough working over as the track continues to build in rhythmic intensity. Then, those crashing hi-hats and snares erupt, creating the kind of awesome thrashing climax Wink has practically made his trademark. The peak in Counter Clock is far more satisfying than anything you might expect from trendy upstarts like Dullfire or Radio Snore, such that- Wait a moment. That was only the mid-track peak? Oh shit, hang on, here we go again!

Actually, since I did bring up the former Deep Dish man, let me point out another thing that Wink trumps him on: what to do after the mid-track peak. I know Dubfire wasn’t the first to do it, but his single Roadkill really popularized the Total F'n Reset, wherein after a thrilling build, the track will just reset with intro beats, making everything up to it utterly pointless. Wink has a tendency to bring the energy down as well, but instead of using the Total Reset, he eases you into a simmer, which is not only effective in keeping some sort of momentum going but also in teasing your anticipation for when he brings it all back. And speaking of which, let’s get back to these bananas.

After a bit of murky, mildly funky minimalism with What Used To Be…, Wink unleashes a pair of tracks that hit all the right melodic notes. Jus’ Right is pure Balaeric bliss, but it’s Dolphin Smack that comes off as the most delightful surprise - you would never have expected Wink to produce a track that would have fit nicely on an early-90s Harthouse compilation in this day in age. It’s quite spacey and, dare I say, even trancey.

From there, Wink gets back to your requisite minimal-tech, although considering he was among the earliest adopters of this stylistic trend, the cuts offered here sound comfortable and assured. Yeah, there’s your usual plink-plonk-hiss going on, but there’s also, like, actual funk in these tracks too - imagine that, eh? He’s going to drag your head out of your k-hole whether you like it or not, and coerce you to do more with your feet than a half-committed shuffle. Finishing off with the soulful Stay Out All Night is fair game too, even if it shares the same status as Johnny D’s Orbitalife of an inexplicably overplayed track throughout 2008 (that ‘funky soul’ thing must have seemed like such a novelty to the minimal-tech crowd, despite the likes of Miguel Migs having never gone away).

Of course, When A Banana… isn’t revolutionary or anything like that. We’ve been hearing many of Wink’s tricks on here for over a decade; it’s his strong judgment of rhythm that makes it all work though. Unlike so many other minimal-tech producers who make dull plod-step beats, Wink’s veteran sense of the dancefloor knows how to get the most mileage out of the least elements, and he’s accomplished this excellently with these tracks. Throw in attributes his contemporaries seem afraid of (funk! soul! …melody!), and you have one of the stronger albums of tech-house to come along this year. Not to mention in Wink’s discography as well.

Written by Sykonee for TranceCritic.com, 2009. © All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Weld

Reprise Records: 1991

Considering the plethora of live albums Neil Young's Archives series has churned out this past decade, its difficult remembering such things were once rarities. For sure many of his albums would contain live recordings of new material, but a full live set of concert material? It wasn't until Live Rust, a companion piece to the Rust Never Sleeps tour extravaganza, that a true concert recording in conceptual full was made available for sale. Fast forward through most of the '80s that many Rusties demote as a 'lost decade', and we're right back in full rock 'n' roll glory with his Craziest of Horse pals in Ragged Glory, a raucous tour to back it up, and finally his second official live album unleashed from it.

Ol' Shakey didn't set out to prove he could stand toe-to-toe with those new, noisy 'grunge' kids, but Weld sure done does that. Unlike Live Rust, there's not a lick of acoustic music throughout the double-disc feature. Only downtime comes care of a cover of Bob Dylan's folksy ditty Blowin' In The Wind, stretched out here to nearly seven minutes, with huge walls of guitar feedback, wartime sound effects, and lovely Crazy Horse harmonies. I suppose some of Young's slower tunes might count for 'chill' music, like the bluesy Tonight's The Night, and the guitar epic Cortez The Killer, but ain't nothing calm or soothing about Neil's pained howls and cutting lyrics, much less those extended solos.

Oh yeah, you better love yourself some lengthy guitar jamming if you're interested in this live album. Absolutely you get the classics like Like A Hurricane and Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black), but as this tour was in support of Ragged Glory, most of that album's extended songs show up here too. Sweet deal for me, as they're my favourite tunes from that record! The steady burner Love To Burn, the cock-rockin' F*!#in' Up, the unabashed solo-excusing Love And Only Love, the hilariously sloppy Farmer Jon, and my guilty pleasure Mansion On A Hill. Whenever I hear this song, it instantly takes me back to early Shambhala sentiments, the lyrics eerily on point in reflecting my mind-space at the time (probably didn't hurt I was also succumbing to the Rustie Bug too).

Anything else? How about some good ol' rockin' out with over nine minutes of Rockin' In The Free World? Or solid common-clay story-telling with Powerderfinger and Crime In The City? A couple throwback jams with Cinnamon Girl and Roll Another Number (For The Road)? Okay, maybe not that one, but it's a charming tune to end a concert on. Drive safe, y'all.

Weld is pretty much wall-to-wall guitar glory, performed by a bunch of middle-aged men who were inspiring all the youngin's of rock's new '90s world (Sonic Youth opened for them on this tour). And hey, if we didn't get Weld, then Young wouldn't have wrecked his hearing so bad that he was forced to follow it with another classic in Harvest Moon.

Snap! - Welcome To Tomorrow (Original TC Review)

BMG: 1994

(2017 Update:
Not much else to add to this old review. My thoughts on it haven't changed much in the ten years since I wrote it, and the story of Snap! hasn't seen much else of note happen either. They did join in on those 'I Love The '90s' nostalgia concerts that sprung up a few years ago, which is cool and all, but nothing from this album made it into their short playlists - at least, from what I've seen on various YouTube clips. I never got to go to those shows, stuck on the continent that I currently am. I'm not sure how they could have included
Welcome To Tomorrow or Rame or The First The Last Eternity anyway, so drastically different from the group's biggest hits as they are. Maybe Dream On The Moon could have fit, having a similar 'rugged' rhythm as their older hip-house hits, but would anyone know that one? Yeah, thought not.)

IN BRIEF: The first mainstream trance album? Perhaps.

(to their song Who Stole It)
So, Snap!, what happened to thee?
You’re once players in this industry.
But something happened along the way;
Now your impact is forgotten today.


Alas, something did happen to the power-house dance outfit Snap! With ultra-hits like The Power and Rhythm Is A Dancer, they helped popularize a euro dance scene into a global phenomenon. At the peak of it all though, when work on their third album Welcome To Tomorrow was soon to begin, a number of factors ended up drastically changing things for the group.

The most glaring one is the absence of rapper Turbo B. Much has been debated over his worthiness as an MC. Some found him wholly unnecessary and his rhymes silly. Others quite enjoyed his faux Public Enemy persona, lending the songs he was featured on a vitality that was often missing from the many copy-cat acts that followed. Whatever your impression of him was though, he undoubtedly gave Snap! much needed stage presence considering most of the music was done behind-the-scenes. However, Turbo B and producers Michael Münzing and Luca Anzilotti (or John “Virgo” Garrett III and Benito Benites, heh) had a falling out. He wanted to get back to hip-hop, whereas they had other plans. Thus their union came to an end for the remainder of the 90s.

Yet that’s not the end of it. Snap! could easily have settled on producing stock euro house with female singers, but the German duo never wanted to be caught rehashing their former successes in those days - hence the drastic differences between their first two albums. Once again, they decided to go for a new sound, but what?

Oddly enough, trance provided the answer. It was already blowing up in German clubs in ‘94, and two albums with Jam el Mar at the helm (Dance 2 Trance’s Moon Spirits and Jam & Spoon’s Tripomatic Fairytales 2001) had shown some potential in the genre’s crossover ability. Münzing and Anzilotti also had ties to the scene, having known tastemaker Sven Väth when they performed together as Off in the 80s. Perhaps at the time it seemed like the logical course of action, but sadly Welcome To Tomorrow was a few years too early to be a successful mainstream trance album, and it greatly hurt the public’s response to it (well, aside from in Germany, obviously).

The lack of Turbo B was the least of their identity crisis. Snap! retained a signature murky bass-heavy sound throughout most of their releases, but not this time out. Welcome To Tomorrow’s production is mostly squeaky clean, even to a fault in some cases. If they wanted to create the image of a future where everything is devoid of the grime and grit of the present, they certainly succeeded there, but this was not what folks expected. Small wonder the new singles from the album were mostly met with apathy from nearly all their fans: they weren’t even sure if it was the same group anymore (which, in a sense, was true).

On its own merits, then. As a mainstream dance album with trance influences, does Welcome To Tomorrow work? At times, yes. Some of these tracks contain all those vintage elements trance was built upon, and Snap!’s offerings are as fine as anything the underground saw. Most apparent of these is Rame, where the combination of stuttery synths, sweeping pads, and Rukmani’s ethnic vocals could have found a tidy home on any old school trance compilation. Elsewhere, It’s Not Over makes for a peppy instrumental, The First The Last Eternity finds similar elements to Rame in a subdued setting with lyrics provided by their new female vocalist Paula Brown (aka: Summer), and Waves dips into ambient’s waters with Ibizan-tinged guitar provided by Markus Deml (whom some may remember from his pairing with Ralf Hildenbeutel as Earth Nation around the same time - the ties to the underground continue!).

A bunch of these other songs though... I dunno, friends. I mean, I normally don’t have much problem with doe-eyed clichés but seriously, Snap! go overboard here.

Green Grass Grow, It’s A Miracle, Welcome To Tomorrow, The World In My Hands: my God, but what syrupy sap these are. The World In My Hands is at least somewhat tolerable with a moodier tone, but the rest sound like they were written with children in mind. In fact, I think they were. Münzing had a baby daughter at this point, and it seems like his paternal instincts drastically took over his music writing, such to the point he even gives her some ad-libs on It’s A Miracle, a song about the joys of childbirth. Yes, I admit whenever I think about holding my newborn nephew, the same sentimentality does come up, but not when I’m listening to a dance record. Here, I can’t help but be just a bit embarrassed, like watching someone performing simpleton-silly googly acts to a bemused baby. And this comes from the same group that just four years prior had Turbo B rapping about lamenting a broken condom?

Welcome To Tomorrow isn’t a bad album though. It’s just very different from what you’d expect: a Snap! album, a dance album, anything really. You can throw it on and, provided you don’t blush to death from the effusive emotions at points, be reasonably entertained. Unfortunately for them, it brought the group down, and despite their continued attempts at comebacks this decade, they have remained out of public consciousness for the most part, save the continued replays of The Power and Rhythm Is A Dancer. Not exactly the future they predicted, then. Ah well.

Written by Sykonee for TranceCritic.com, 2007. All rights reserved

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Various - Welcome To The Technodrome Vol. 4

ZYX Music: 1995

I can't be sure, because sifting through ZYX Music's immense discography is like staring at a European phone book, but I think Welcome To The Technodrome is the first compilation series the label attached the nascent 'techno' tag to its archives. Yes, even beating out their main series, Techno Trax, by a couple years. Considering only four volumes were released though, it pleads the question why this one never caught on like others. Ah, my lovelies, that's because this is a tie-in with a short-lived sub-label of ZYX, dubbed Techno Drome International.

Their brief history is a little more interesting, springing up to champion the hot sounds of 'industrial techno' coming out of Dorcheim, Germany. This included acts like Robotiko Rejekto, Recall IV, and Pluuto. It petered out by '92 though, only two Welcome To The Technodrome volumes making it to store shelves in that time. Yet for some reason, ZYX continued the series, capitalizing on any brand recognition to flood the market with CDs. By '93's Vol. 3, you had names like Ramirez, Bronski Beat, Microbots, and 2 Unlimited taking up disc space. Which finally brings us to Welcome To The Technodrome Vol. 4, the last of them, released in '95 when the brand's original 'industrial techno' ethos was a forgotten footnote.

*Phew* All that word count getting the history out of the way. Good thing this double-discer has little worth talking about otherwise. I picked this up at the same time as Techno Trax Vol. 12, both sitting together on a used-shop rack, and there's small surprise why, nearly identical in style and tone as they are. There's a few repeats – Liquid Bass' In Full Effect, Alien Factory's This Is Not A Daydream, Paranoia X' Party Program - but it sure feels like more. Way to milk those licenses, ZYX.

Mo-Do kicks the compilation off, if you needed a reminder of just how ubiquitous Eins, Zwei, Polizei was in mid-'90s Europa. Following that, you get some hard acid (Ben, Ben And No Ben's Rotes Harr), a German trance tune that sounds like it's aping the melody from some synth-pop ditty, muddy standard trance in Submerge's Oblivion, and some straight-bosh 'ardcore from DJ Metz's Hey, We Want Some. Elsewhere, things get silly with Josh's Der Säbeltanz, a tune that might find you hilariously balancing a bunch of plates on poles while riding a unicycle. When it isn't going full happy hardcore, CD2 offers more German trance of varying quality, a couple worth a listen, but most well left in the past.

Which makes me wonder: why do I judge these jams so critically now? Had I somehow stumbled upon Welcome To The Technodrome Vol. 4 when it was new, and my exposure to such music was so fresh and so clean, might I have better things to say of it today? I cannot deny Teenage Sykonee would have been all over this back when, but Lord help him if he didn't outgrow silly nonsense like Moneypenny's Que Sera, Sera too.

Friday, August 18, 2017

RetroSynther - Welcome To Technocity

Werkstatt Recordings: 2016

Synthwave isn't hard to find, but getting my grubby hands on CD copies of the stuff remains a tricky affair. Obviously digital is this scene's preferred method of distribution, but it seems even tapes outnumber the aluminum disc options wherever I look. Thank the Moroder God that Blood Music goes to bat for its synthwave superstars, yet I can't rely on a single label sating my sweet tooth for retro synthy cheese-pop. Looks like fortunes have favoured my searching efforts though, recently stumbling upon this Werkstatt Recordings print in my Bandcamp wanderings. CD options! Oh, glorious CD options! Only trouble is they take a darn long time to deliver, and I want to write a review of one of them now, while Alphabetical Stipulation permits me. Darn it, I thought that time away at Shambhala would have delivered the goods. Ah, screw it, I'll just review this anyway. Better than having another 'Lingua Lustra - Spaces' situation on my hands. It's not like I Instagram me holding each album anyway.

So here we go with RetroSynther, a project from Hungarian Sándor Máté. He's a couple other projects under his keytar, including Electro Potato, Tony (187), and part of a duo with vocalist Klajkó Lajos as Energy Voice. If any of these names ring a bell for you, then damn, daughter, you've got some serious italo-synth game, because I'm drawing a total blank myself. Mind, if Lord Discogs is to be trusted, Mr. Máté is relatively new to the music scene, only a handful of scattered items released throughout all his various projects. Welcome To Technocity is practically his debut solo album as RetroSynther or anything else. Despite my complete lack of knowledge though, I had to check this album out because, dude, that cover! Makes me want to watch some pulp sci-fi, or play Galaga.

However, Welcome To Technocity isn't a synthwave album. Really, it's about as vintage a space-synth LP as this music gets – the totally retro synths (it's in the name, people!), the vocoders, the peppy hi-NRG rhythms, triumphant italo riffs conquering the cosmos, and all that good stuff. Some of the basslines remind me of where '80s eurodisco ended up once its transition to eurodance of the '90s was complete, but if you've heard space-synth at any point in the past two decades, you aren't going to hear much different with RetroSynther's take on it. This is a genre that prides itself on remaining as aesthetically pure as possible, which is perfectly fine if that's your aim. I sure didn't come into here expecting anything less, this style of music fun for the occasional dip every few months.

In the backhalf of the album, Mr. Máté adds a melancholic downbeat tune in New Hope, plus a short closer that gets close to the realms of synthwave (Awakening). It's not enough for me to recommend Welcome To Technocity to anyone other than those already converted to retro space-synth jams though, whose audience remains ultra-niche.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Space Dimension Controller - Welcome To Mikrosector-50

R & S Records: 2013

While this album technically isn't Jack Hamill's debut as Space Dimension Controller, it sure feels so. His actual debut LP was a digital-only item released four years prior on Acroplane Recordings, Unidentified Flying Oscillator. I don't recall much buzz surrounding it though, most folks instead intrigued by a debut single released that same year, The Love Quadrant. R & S Records especially liked the cut of that record's space-funk jib, so ol' Jack hooked them up with a few lengthy EPs, earning him critical plaudits with Very Important music journals in the process. Naturally an album was expected following that buzz, but Welcome To Mikrosector-50 wasn't like anything folks anticipated. For Mr. Hamill sought nothing less than to take the Space Dimension Controller concept into the realm of a fully-fleshed narrative, concrete plot and all. Oh my, who even does that in techno anymore?

The year is 2357 A.D., helpfully parlayed by the opening chill track 2357 A.D. Jack Hamill moonlights throughout this story as Mr. 8040, introduced in the following track of Mr. 8040's Introduction, a proper throwback electro-funk jam complete with hippity-hop rapping. Then there's a brief ad-skit shilling for the marvellous Mikrosector-50 habitat, followed by the free-wheeling space-funk jam (you're gonna' read 'funk jam' a lot in this review) of To Mikrosector-50, with a little more info dropped by Mr. 8040 regarding who is and what he do. Following that, there's another brief skit, where our hero consults a computer regarding the whereabouts of his lover/wife/beneficial-friend. It's about here that you realize you're not dealing with a regular ol' clutch of tracks, but an unfolding story with music acting more as a soundtrack to Mr. 8040's journey to find the love he lost.

His trip takes him through various sections of the Mikrosector. A chill guitar-funk jam of Your Love Feels Like It's Fading. A rather synthwavey tune of Lonely Flight To Erodu-10. A failed club pick-up in the house-funk jam of Can't Have My Love (with heavenly vocals from 'Kat Kirk'). A seedy excursion into an underground acid-techno [funk] jam of Rising (Detroit called, it wants its retro-future back). A shameless hooker score in Quadraskank Interlude (about as down and funky low as you'd expect). And even a narrative excuse to return to the first SDC tune in Love Quadrant.

Yet it's all for naught, his search proving fruitless. Having exhausted any hopes of finding peace in this future, Mr. 8040 leaves to the bouncy Detroit techno of Back Through Time With A Mission Of Groove. It's a tidy wrap-up to the album's tale, save a cheeky stinger hinting that perhaps there may be more in store for the Space Dimension Controller in all our futures.

If you're the sort who wants new tunes with nothing attached, the various skits throughout Welcome To Mikrosector-50 will likely frustrate. Me though, I'm all about that album narrative score. If anything, I'd love to see this translated into movie format. Or at least a graphic novel a la Perturbator.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Genesis - We Can't Dance

Atlantic: 1991

The first Genesis album I ever got, since I didn't know any better. It didn't help this came out when I was at that very impressionable age of Twelve, with big hits of the day having much more influence on my interests than whatever the 'underground' was kicking. The first mixtape I made had stuff like Roxette, Michael Jackson's latest off Dangerous, and The Northern Pikes (it's a Canadian thing) – really, just whatever caught my eyes from MuchMusic, and happened to be in my old man's collection of CDs. Technically, the goof-ball blues of I Can't Dance falls into this category, as the tongue-in-cheek video (that walk!) had plenty of rotation on the music channel, and Daddy-O' had the album too. I'm not sure why he did though, as he lacked anything else from the band, new or old. I suspect I Can't Dance was such a hit, he needed it for all those mobile DJ gigs at weddings and office parties.

ANY-hootaney, I didn't get We Can't Dance for that particular song, but for a different one that struck quite a nerve when I first heard it: No Son Of Mine. As far as I can recall, hearing Phil Collins belt out that chorus was the first time I'd been mentally shook by lyrics, a cold chill running down the back of my neck as my pre-teen mind processed the implication such words coming from a father could have. What might a young man, boy, or teen do that was so abhorrent as to cause his father to reject him so emphatically? For that matter, could my father ever find some action of mine utterly contemptible as to turn his back on me? Might I even be capable of such action? It's a query that's stuck with me ever since I heard No Son Of Mine so many moons ago, long after such musings should have passed me by.

I know it's poor form spending a huge chunk of a review on an anecdote (or admission, or... whatever that above paragraph is), but let's be frank here: does anyone remember anything else off this album? There's twelve songs on We Can't Dance, but beyond No Son Of Mine (a kick-ass tune even if you don't have emotional scars from it), I Can't Dance, and maybe the peppy Jesus He Knows Me, nothing else had much impact on the airwaves. Oh, the album sold gang-busters, as most Genesis albums did back then, but I highly doubt most folks could hum songs like Tell Me Why or Since I Lost You or Hold On My Heart. The music's all slick, well-crafted, and nicely performed, everyone involved clearly experts in their trade. Yet aside from a couple extended jams in Dreaming While You Sleep and Driving The Last Spike, it all passes by with little vigour. As chided for its pure pop leanings as Invisible Touch gets, at least it had impressive compositions like The Brazilian in there too.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Etnoscope - Way Over Deadline

Ektoplazm: 2010

Back when I figured my post-TranceCritic hiatus wouldn't be so lengthy, I snatched this album from the ever-awesome coffers of Ektoplazm, anticipating it a good album to review upon returning. I'm... a little behind in getting to that, aren't I? You could say I've been... tardy in my timeliness. Why, this review should have been written... much longer before. What I'm getting at is the words you're reading are... really, really late.

I recall Way Over Deadline having some hype in the lead-up, a return of prog-psy's earliest heroes in Etnoscope. Their 2003 album Drums From The Dawn Of Time was hailed as among the early classics of that scene, fusing tribal drum workouts into a groovy time for all the forest ravers getting their flail on. Yet despite the initial positive buzz, Etnoscope receded from the spotlight, doing the occasional live gig and not much else. And it's not like the group's members were busy with other projects, Misters Englebert, Collin, and Alanne having little else to their Discogian credits. But with prog-psy having settled into a 'deep, minimal, plodding triplets' phase by 2010 (thanks, Iboga!), that these guys were coming forth with new material was welcome news indeed.

Still, as I scoured the web for reactions to Way Over Deadline, it seems as though the album came and went with barely a blip. Even review threads at the old guards of psy-trance discourse – psynews.org and Isratrance – had little activity beyond an obligatorily 4,000 word review, followed by a half-dozen 'this is great!' reactions. Kinda' makes me feel all the more negligent in my own failure contributing to the initial hype, as this is the sort of prog-psy that was so very desperately needed at the turn of the decade. Rhythms that are propulsive, live drumming that's funky, basslines that are gnarly-as-fuck, and melodic flourishes that capture the best of morning trance giddiness.

Specifics? Oh, how about the opening cut Odin's Kraft, featuring all the drum work you can handle, coupled with one Hell of an ear-wormy chant. Or Kaijko, which goes more subdued with its drumming and samples, but, mang', that rubbery acid! Sunset gets all operatic on our asses, while Might & Magic rips out one of the most infectious basslines you'll ever hear from the prog-psy camps (really, it's creeping up to full-on territory). Elsewhere, Jävla Sladdar adds a little guitar shredding to the fray, and Freedom opts for a bouncy, world-beat jig, plus a standard dubby closing cut in Floating Feeling. Really, the only two duds are Guitar Session and Medieval, for having a hand at the tropes that made prog-psy more a chore to get through back then (plodding minimalism, triplets, etc.).

Etnoscope music is rare enough as it is, so considering Way Over Deadline is still available at Ektoplazm, there's no excuse for prog-psy fans to ignore this. And who knows, now that's it's been another seven years since their last album, maybe we'll get another LP from them soon. One can hope.

ACE TRACKS: July 2017

Hey look, another month where I broke the 'twenty reviews' mark. That sure don't happen as often anymore, does it. I'm surprised I hit that mark at all, though perhaps I was eager to get at a few of the items in the queue, CDs with plenty o' talking points swirling at the floodgates of my... whatever it is that sends words from my brain to the fingers typing it all out. Is it an ether that does it? Like, some mystical fifth element that makes my words manifest in such a way that they penetrate your eyeholes, imprinting themselves in your memory membranes. No, really, think about that for a moment – it's practically magic that we can do that, man! At least, until we evolve antennae, where bio-chemical communications will render this clumsy electronic method moot.

Actually, another reason for getting more writing done is I've had less distractions this past month, the most significant of which is brushing off the ol' Hot Shots Golf 3 game again. Man, is that ever a time-warp of pop culture interests, what with playable characters such as the Aussie animal ranger, the Chinese martial artist, the mobsters, the John Daly clone, and all those Matrix clones. 2002 was weird. No music from that year in this playlist of ACE TRACKS, though.



MISSING ALBUMS:
Various - Waveform Transmissions (Volume One)
Various - Wave Forum
Various - The Wandering II Compilation
Refracted - Through The Spirit Realm
Various - Techno Explosion
Jiri.Ceiver - Head.Phon

Percentage Of Hip-Hop: 13%
Percentage Of Rock: 5%
Most “WTF?” Track: You cannot deny hearing Mo-Do will turn your head unlike any other tune here.

Moar! reviews means bigger playlists, and Moar! diversity! Well, not a whole lot – ain't no '70s stuff on here. Still, added a couple more '80s albums to the archives, which is always nice because I seriously lack material released that decade. It's those 'greatest hits' packages, see;always gumming up the accuracy of Year Tags.

Things I've Talked About

...txt 10 Records 16 Bit Lolita's 1963 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2 Play Records 2 Unlimited 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 20xx Update 2562 3 Loop Music 302 Acid 36 3FORCE 3six Recordings 4AD 6 x 6 Records 75 Ark 7L & Esoteric 808 State A Perfect Circle A Positive Life A-Wave A&M Records A&R Records Abandoned Communities Abasi Above and Beyond abstract Ace Trace Ace Tracks Playlists Ace Ventura acid acid house acid jazz acid techno acoustic Acroplane Recordings Adam Freeland Adham Shaikh ADNY Adrian Younge adult contemporary Advanced UFO Phantom Aegri Somnia Aes Dana Afrika Bambaataa Afro-house Afterhours Agoria Aidan Casserly Aira Mitsuki Ajana Records Ajna AK1200 Akshan album Aldrin Alex Smoke Alex Theory Alice In Chains Alien Project Alio Die All Saints Alphabet Zoo Alphaxone Altar Records Alter Ego alternative rock Alucidnation Ambelion Ambidextrous ambient ambient dub ambient techno Ambient World Ambientium Ametsub Amon Tobin Amplexus Anabolic Frolic Anatolya Andrea Parker Andrew Heath Androcell Andy C anecdotes Aniplex Anjunabeats Anodize Another Fine Day Antendex anthem house Anthony Paul Kerby Anthony Rother Anti-Social Network Aphasia Records Aphex Twin Apócrýphos Apollo Apple Records April Records Aqua Aquarellist Aquascape Aquasky Aquila Arcade Architects Of Existence arena rock Arista Armada Armin van Buuren Arpatle Arts & Crafts ASC Ashtech Asia Asian Dub Foundation Astral Projection Astral Waves Astralwerks AstroPilot Asura Asylum Records ATCO Records Atlantic Atlantis atmospheric jungle Atomic Hooligan Atrium Carceri Attic Audion AuroraX Autechre Autistici Autumn Of Communion Avantgarde Aveparthe Avicii Axiom Axs Axtone Records Aythar B.G. The Prince Of Rap B°TONG Babygrande Balance Balanced Records Balearic ballad Banco de Gaia Bandulu battle-rap Bauri Beastie Boys Beat Buzz Records Beatbox Machinery Beats & Pieces bebop Beck Bedouin Soundclash Bedrock Records Beechwood Music Benny Benassi Benz Street US Berlin-School Beto Narme Beyond bhangra Bicep big beat Big Boi Big L Big Life Bill Hamel Bill Laswell BIlly Idol BineMusic BioMetal Biophon Records Biosphere Bipolar Music BKS Black Hole Recordings black rebel motorcycle club Black Swan Sounds Blanco Y Negro Blasterjaxx Blend Blood Music Blow Up Blue Öyster Cult blues Bluescreen Bluetech BMG Boards Of Canada Bob Dylan Bob Marley Bobina Bogdan Raczynzki Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Boney M Bong Load Records Bonzai Boogie Down Productions Booka Shade Botchit & Scarper Bows Boxed Boys Noize Boysnoize Records BPitch Control braindance Brandt Brauer Frick Brasil & The Gallowbrothers Band breakcore breaks Brian Eno Brian Wilson Brick Records Britpop Brodinski broken beat Brooklyn Music Ltd Bryan Adams BT Bubble Buffalo Springfield Bulk Recordings Burial Burned CDs Bush Busta Rhymes C.I.A. Calibre calypso Canibus Canned Resistor Capitol Records Capsula Captured Digital Carbon Based Lifeforms Carl B Carl Craig Carol C Caroline Records Carpe Sonum Records Cat Sun CD-Maximum Ceephax Acid Crew Celestial Dragon Records Cell Celtic Cevin Fisher Cheb i Sabbah Cheeky Records chemical breaks Chihei Hatakeyama chill out chill-out chiptune Chris Duckenfield Chris Fortier Chris Korda Chris Sheppard Chris Witoski Christmas Christopher Lawrence Chromeo Chronos Chrysalis Ciaran Byrne cinematic soundscapes Circular Cirrus Cities Last Broadcast City Of Angels CJ Stone Claptone classic house classic rock classical Claude Young Clear Label Records Cleopatra Cloud 9 Club Cutz Club Tools Cocoon Recordings Cold Spring Coldcut Coldplay coldwave Colette collagist Columbia Com.Pact Records comedy Compilation Comrie Smith Connect.Ohm conscious Control Music Cooking Vinyl Cor Fijneman Corderoy Cosmic Gate Cosmic Replicant Cosmo Cocktail Cosmos Studios Cottonbelly Council Of Nine Counter Records country country rock Covert Operations Recordings Craig Padilla Crazy Horse Cream Creamfields Crockett's Theme Crosby Stills And Nash Crosstown Rebels crunk Cryo Chamber Cryobiosis Cryogenic Weekend Cube Guys Culture Beat Curb Records Current Curve cut'n'paste Cyan Music Cyber Productions CyberOctave Cyclic Law Cygna Cyril Secq Czarface D-Bridge D-Fuse D-Topia Entertainment Dacru Records Daddy G Daft Punk Dag Rosenqvist Damian Lazarus Damon Albarn Dan The Automator Dance 2 Trance Dance Pool dancehall Daniel Heatcliff Daniel Lentz Daniel Wanrooy Dao Da Noize dark ambient dark psy darkcore darkside darkstep darkwave Darla Records Darren McClure Darren Nye DAT Records Databloem dataObscura David Alvarado David Bickley David Guetta David Morley DDR Dead Melodies Deadmau5 Death Grips Death Row Records Decimal Dedicated Deejay Goldfinger Deep Dish Deep Forest deep house Deeply Rooted House Deepwater Black Def Jam Recordings Del Tha Funkee Homosapien Delerium Delsin Deltron 3030 Depeche Mode Der Dritte Raum Derek Carr Detroit Devin Underwood DFA DGC diametric. Dido Dieselboy Different DigiCube Dillinja dirty house Dirty South Dirty Vegas disco Disco Gecko disco house Disco Pinata Records disco punk Discover (label) Disky Disques Dreyfus Distant System Distinct'ive Breaks Disturbance Divination DJ 3000 DJ Brian DJ Craze DJ Dan DJ Dean DJ Gonzalo DJ Heather DJ John Kelley DJ Merlin DJ Mix DJ Moe Sticky DJ Observer DJ Premier DJ Q-Bert DJ Shadow DJ Soul Slinger DJ-Kicks Djen Ajakan Shean DJMag DMC DMC Records Doc Scott Dogon Dogwhistle Dooflex Dopplereffekt Dossier Dousk downtempo dowtempo Dr. Atmo Dr. Dre Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show Dr. Octagon Dragon Quest dream house DreamWorks Records Drexciya drill 'n' bass Dronarivm drone Dronny Darko drum 'n' bass DrumNBassArena drunken review dub Dub Pistols dub techno Dub Trees Dubfire dubstep DuMonde Dune Dusted Dynatron E-Mantra E-Z Rollers Eardream Music Earth Earth Nation Earthling Eastcoast Eastcost EastWest Eastworld Eat Static EBM Echodub Ed Rush & Optical Editions EG EDM World Weekly News Ektoplazm electro Electro House Electro Sun electro-funk electro-pop electroclash Electronic Dance Essentials Electrovoya Elektra Elektrolux em:t EMC update EMI Eminem Emmerichk Emperor Norton Empire enCAPSULAte Engine Recordings Enigma Enmarta EP Epic epic trance Erased Tapes Records Eric Borgo Erik Vee Erol Alkan Escape Esoteric Reactive ethereal Etnica Etnoscope Euphoria euro dance eurotrance Eurythmics Eve Records Everlast Ewan Pearson experimental Eye Q Records F Communications Fabric Fade Records Faithless Falcon Reekon Fallen fanfic Fantastisizer Fantasy Enhancing Fatboy Slim Fax +49-69/450464 Fear Factory Fedde Le Grand Fehrplay Feist Fektive Records Felix da Housecat Fennesz Ferry Corsten FFRR field recordings Filter filters Final Fantasy Firescope Five AM Fjäder Flashover Recordings Floating Points Flowers For Bodysnatchers Flowjob Fluke Flying Lotus folk footwork Force Intel Fountain Music Four Tet FPU Frank Bretschneider Frankie Bones Frankie Knuckles Fred Everything freestyle French house Front Line Assembly fsoldigital.com Fugees full-on Fun Factory funk future garage Future Sound Of London futurepop g-funk gabber Gabriel Le Mar Gaither Music Group Galaktlan Galati Gang Starr gangsta garage Gareth Davis Gary Martin Gas Gasoline Alley Records Gee Street Geffen Records Gel-Sol Genesis Geometry Combat Gerald Donald Get Physical Music ghetto Ghostface Killah Ghostly International glam Gliese 581C glitch Global Communication Global Underground Globular goa trance God Body Disconnect Gorillaz gospel Gost goth Grammy Awards Gravediggaz Green Day Grey Area Greytone Gridlock grime Groove Armada Groove Corporation Grooverider grunge Guru Gustaf Hidlebrand Gusto Records GZA H2O Records Haddaway Halgrath happy hardcore hard house hard rock hard techno hard trance hardcore Hardfloor hardstyle Harmless Harmonic 33 Harold Budd Harthouse Harthouse Mannheim Hawtin Hearts Of Space Hed Kandi Hefty Records Helen Marnie Hell Hercules And Love Affair Hernán Cattáneo Hi-Bias Records Hic Sunt Leones Hide And Sequence Hiero Emperium Hieroglyphics High Contrast High Note Records Higher Ground Higher Intelligence Agency hip-hop hip-house hipno Home Normal Honest Jon's Records Hooj Choons Hope Records horrorcore Hospital Records Hot Chip Hotflush Recordings house Huey Lewis & The News Human Blue Hybrid Hybrid Leisureland Hymen Records Hyperdub Hypertrophy hypnotic records I Awake I-Cube i! 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